Baby wrens

On the Lucy Brook edge of the Hay Meadow about 20 metres down from the Cromwell Road gate there is a dense thicket of brambles, dead branches and other vegetation. There were five wren chicks there this afternoon. Much of the time they perched clustered together on one of the branches looking like a big ball of fluff until they opened their beaks or one decided to climb on top of the others. Meanwhile the parents were flitting back and forth a short distance into the marsh to bring back food. A pair of blackbirds have also been entering the depths of the same thicket, beaks loaded with nesting materials. So hopefully some baby blackbirds too … Lots of noise and activity along this ‘hedge’ line at the moment. Although all suddenly went quiet and everything disappeared as the jay flew past along the brook.

Roe deer

As the Ragwort Working Party entered the Hay Meadow this morning we disturbed a roe deer in Upper Sowerholme. It bounded across the boggy land and away towards Flora.

A Good Read

A Sting in the Tail, My Adventures with Bumblebees by Dave Goulson is highly informative on bumblebees as well as broader conservation issues.His description of creating a wildflower meadow from farmland in France sounds very familiar. It is also highly entertaining – well would YOU know how to tag a bumblebee?

Shell duck

Not only a couple of oyster catchers in the Arable Field this afternoon but a shell duck. It was sitting, whether on anything but earth I could not tell

Sleeping? Hare

Very early morning around the long pads – beautiful misty dawn and saw a hare in the flora field very close to the footpath in a bit of a hollow perfectly still , ears back and eyes open , not at all disturbed by me although very close. Do they sleep with eyes open?

Mystery bird

Paul and I were struggling to identify a bird in Flora Field on Sunday evening. It was down on the ground on the Aldcliffe Road side and we wondered whether it was on a nest. It was about a third of the way down the hill from Pony Wood, and slightly towards the north end of the wood. The easiest guide to its location is that it was just to the left of a rectangle of bare earth. (Assuming, of course, that it is still there!)

Long straight beak (red?), dark head and then quite a bit of visible white. We wondered whether it was the mate to the oystercatcher that was wandering around, but it seemed to have too much white.

Anyone else seen it?

Swifts, swallows and martins

In the past few days there has been quite a lot of swift, swallow and house martin activity around FAUNA – a great opportunity for those who sometimes struggle to tell these species apart to get good looks at them all at the same time!

Also a common whitethroat has taken up territory in the large tree by the boardwalk near School Pond and can be seen and heard rattling out his fabulous song. I still haven’t heard any sedge warblers on the reserve, despite there being good numbers nearby – has anyone else seen or heard any this year?


Catching Up on Bird Sightings

We have seen the lapwings in the last couple of days – one on the ground by the crest of the hill, visible from the long pads path, looking very alert and on one occasion seeing off some gulls.
Here are the species seen on the Dawn Walk on April 9th
woodpigeon, chaffinch,nuthatch,blue tit,magpie,jay,lesser BB gull,herring gull,carrion crow,mallard,robin,grey heron,blackbird,house sparrow,curlew,goldfinch,sparrowhawk,starling,greenfinch,great tit,bullfinch
and heard: blackcap, dunnock and wren
and on the Evening Walk on April 16th
Blue tit,robin,chiffchaff,magpie, swallows, long-tailed tit, 2 grey partridge, buzzard, chaffinch, sand martin
and finally on the dawn walk on April 23rd
Blackbird, collared dove, wood pigeon, house sparrow, swallow, shelduck, starling, LBB gull, 2 grey partridge, robin, willow warbler, greenfinch, blue tit, reed bunting, magpie, approx 20 wheatear stopping over on their way to Greenland, BH gull, mistle trhrush, jackdaw, feral pigeon, mallard, carrion crow, moorhen, jackdaws
and heard: great tit, chiff chaff, dunnock